posted on Apr, 2 2003 @ 05:12 PM
Chemical Weapons - Introduction
Chemical weapons use the toxic properties of chemical substances rather than their explosive properties to produce physical or physiological effects
on an enemy.
Although instances of what might be styled as chemical weapons date to antiquity, much of the lore of chemical weapons as viewed today has its origins
in World War I. During that conflict ìgasî (actually an aerosol or vapor) was used effectively on numerous occasions by both sides to alter the
outcome of battles. A significant number of battlefield casualties were sustained. The Geneva Protocol, prohibiting use of chemical weapons in
warfare, was signed in 1925. Several nations, the United States included, signed with a reservation forswearing only the first use of the weapons and
reserved the right to retaliate in kind if chemical weapons were used against them (the United States did not ratify the Protocol until 1975).
Chemical weapons were employed in the intervening period by Italy (in Ethiopia) and Japan (in Manchuria and China). Both nations were signatories to
the Geneva Convention. Chemical weapons were never deliberately employed by the Allies or the Axis during World War II, despite the accumulation of
enormous stockpiles by both sides. Instances of employment of chemical weapons in the local wars since then are arguable, although they were
definitely used in the Iran-Iraq conflict of 1982ñ87.
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